This story by W.M. Dane
First Co Richmond Howitzers.
Just here, we of the “Howitzer” suffered our first, and only, loss in this day’s fighting. Cary Eggleston, “No. 1” at third gun, had his arm shattered, and almost cut away from his body, by a fragment of shell. He quietly handed his rammer to John Ayres, who that instant came up to the gun, and said, “Here Johnny, you take it and go ahead!” Then, g...ripping his arm with his other hand, partly to stop the fast flowing blood, he turned to his comrades, and said in his jocular way, “Boys, I can never handle a sponge-staff any more. I reckon I’ll have to go to teaching school.”
Then he stood a while, looking at the men working the gun. They urged him to go to the rear; he would not for a while. When he consented to go, they wanted to send a man with him, but he refused, and walked off by himself. As he passed back an infantry officer, seeing what an awful wound he had, and the streaming blood, insisted that one of the men should go and help him to the hospital. “No,” he said; “I’m all right, and you haven’t got any men to spare from here.” So, holding his own arm, and compressing the artery with his thumb, he got to the hospital.
His arm was amputated, and a few days after, as the battery passed through Spottsylvania Court House, we went by the Court House building, used as a hospital, where he lay on the floor, and bade him “good-bye.” He was just as cheerful, and bright, as ever, and full of eager interest in all that was going on. Said “Since he had time to think about it, he believed he could handle a sponge-staff with one hand; was going to practice it soon as he could get up, and would be back at his post before long.”
The next day, the brave young fellow died. The “Howitzers” will always remember him tenderly. No braver, cooler warrior ever lived! Always bright, full of fun in camp, and on the march, he was at the gun in action, the best “No. 1” I ever saw. One of the few men I ever knew who really seemed to enjoy a fight. His bearing, when he was wounded, was simply heroic. No wounded knight ever passed off his last battlefield in nobler sort. All honor to his memory!